Misty Stanczyk is something of a rare individual. Her accomplishments from an earthly perspective include having an uncommonly great marriage, loving and respectful children, and she is the owner of several businesses. She is a best-selling author and is a friend and inspiration to women from many walks of life.
She is a woman after Gods own heart. Her life today is a reflection of a continuous habit of overcoming fears and obstacles. She has a willingness to step outside the box of normal life and grow through challenges, while taking what some might call unreasonable risks to do more with her life than just exist.
If one were to ask her today, is this because you are more courageous than most, her answer would likely be '"Its not courage, but faith trusting in God and my husband. The Lord knows better than anyone how frightened I have been at times".
Misty grew up in the small town of New Leipzig, North Dakota. It is the type of town that has no stoplights and everyone knows each other. Born as the daughter of a third generation North Dakota farmer, Misty's early life was about big family gatherings and a close knit community that she carries with her in her heart today. Her parents are hard-working and generous people who have made sacrifices that provided a good life for their children. “My parents worked hard and supported me greatly so that I had the privilege and opportunity to be involved in a multitude of activities and sports.” She was also impacted by her close relationship with all of her grandparents. “Each of my grandparents were a blessing in a different way. They were hard working, honest, and they loved Jesus. They loved me unconditionally and were there to support me in everything that I did. I was inspired by each of them, in their own special way. Even though most of them have gone on to Heaven to be with our Father, they still remain a part of me today.”
A love of horses was instilled in her from an early age, and rodeo was an important part of her life. "My passion from the time I was a few years old was horses. I rode in my first rodeo (barrel racing) at the age of five, and continued throughout high school", she says. "There is something special about a girl and her horse! When you are riding there is a freedom that is hard to explain. It is just you, your horse and God. I have always considered myself a rebel cowgirl, and love horses and rodeo to this day".
In 1989, Misty became the small town girl who went to the big city. She had been hired to nanny for three children of a wealthy Boston family. As she stepped off the plane in Boston, MA, she found herself in an alien world. "Culture shock" may be an appropriate description. She had never been in rush hour traffic before. Having cars right next to you on both sides going in the same direction was like nothing she had ever experienced. It was so alien, that when she got to the house she went straight to her room and cried. The lesson she learned was that "We all need to follow through on our commitments, regardless of our fears". The blessing that came out of that was the love for three beautiful and amazing children whom she still cherishes today.
After a year in Boston, Misty returned to her home turf to attend college. After studying for her degree in Political Science, Misty took her first job as a correctional officer in a federal prison. Lesson learned: "It isn’t the size of the correction officer, but the strength of the mace you carry and the pressure points you know", she says with a mischievous smile. She may have been the tiniest officer in the facility, but her attitude more than made up for any shortcomings in physical size. The other thing she took from the experience was that "Everyone has a past. If we don’t know what it is, maybe we shouldn’t judge them. When we do know what it is, empathy and compassion are much more productive".
It was also during this time that Misty learned what it was like to be in an unhealthy relationship. It is one of her reasons for forming the "Grrls 4 God Society".
Grrls 4 God, or "G4G", is a membership based society of women for women.
Misty describes it this way, "We are all screwed up in our own special way. I don’t care which “side of the tracks” we come from. We all have issues from our past or things we are currently going through. Often times, we think there is no one who can relate...or if they can, the subject may be taboo. These issues can include divorce, abuse, infidelity, abortion, abandonment, addictions and loss, just to name a few. The list could go on and on. The goal with G4G is to find women who have dealt with these issues, have been through the healing and redemptive process, and are willing to take the hand of others going through the same struggles. It is a mentorship alliance of sorts. I believe part of our responsibility as Christians is to get rid of our pride and judgment, and be the hands and feet for Christ, to help others walk through the healing process.”
In 1994, Misty's Knight-in-shining-armor stepped into her life. He didn’t discourage her. Instead he encouraged her. Misty says "Alex was the first person I had ever met who let me know it was ok to have dreams and goals, and to aim big". "He had these huge dreams and visions, and he uplifted me - I was intrigued from the moment I met him".
It was the “too common” young couple love story. In 1995 Misty had her first son. She named him Keola, which is Hawaiian for "Light". The next six years would prove to be a time of growth, learning to overcome tremendous challenges both in marriage and finances.
"Daycare sucks". Every day Misty would drop her baby boy off for daycare on her way to work, and every day she left crying with a broken heart. The hurt she felt being forced to be away from her baby while she worked had such an impact that she determined to find a way to change it. That chance would come later in life.
It was Christmas, 1999 in North Bend, Washington. Misty was listening to "Christmas Carol" on the radio. The song was about a young orphan girl who, like so many other children, lined up to sit on Santa's lap and whisper into his ear her hearts deepest desire. This little girl asked Santa for one simple thing...out of all the wishes in the world...all she wanted was a family. With tears streaming down her face, Misty now had a dream burned deep into her heart to adopt a child. It was not until six years later that this dream would be fulfilled.
Pregnant again, the adoption process was put on hold. Little daughter Ashlei was on her way. After the pain of putting her son in daycare for 5 years, and knowing what that might mean for her next baby, Misty asked for her husband’s approval to walk away from her job. He agreed, she became a full-time wife and mommy, and never looked back.
In April 2005, Misty and her husband visited Panama for the first time. Falling in love with the soft tropical breeze, easy-going environment and friendly people, they vowed to return someday.
In October 2005, Misty and her husband travelled to China to adopt a baby boy that had been given up at birth. He was named Kai, which means "Ocean". Misty recalls, "I will never forget that moment. A child that was born in my heart, was now placed in my arms. He was truly a gift from God". This was the beginning of a passion to find mommies and daddies for orphaned children throughout the world. Since then Misty has been actively involved in working with orphanages in China, Panama, and Ethiopia.
The trip to China turned out to be a blessing in more ways than one. Meeting a wonderful Chinese woman and becoming close friends, the trip provided a perspective on global business that wasn’t thought of before. China-babies.com was launched that December.
It was Christmas time again, in Leavenworth, Washington. With snow on the ground of this small Bavarian-style town, Misty spent time with her husband sitting in a Starbucks coffee shop planning out life goals. One of the goals that went on the list was to move to Panama, at least part-time, within two years.
There was a major life turn in November 2006. Sometimes, men have to take a stand on their values. When a man’s integrity and character is at odds with what he is asked to do on a job, there is always a decision to be made. Misty was sitting in the kitchen having a nice warm cup of coffee when the phone call came. "Hun, I can’t , in good conscience, do what they are asking me to do here. I think it’s time to leave this position. I am not sure what I will be doing after this. What do you think?". There was only a slight hesitation. "I support you 100% babe." It could be said, that faced with a husband who has decided to leave a strong six-figure position with incredible benefits, many would find it very difficult to accept. Misty chose to back up her man and walk in faith.
Let’s fast forward to January 2007. It turns out there was nothing to be afraid of. Now living in Panama, Misty has found her way to what some may consider paradise. Life consists of working from her home office, managing her businesses and working on her next book, sitting near the pool and reading, and occasionally sneaking away to the beach nearby for a tan. The next few years are a time of tremendous growth. "There’s nothing quite like being able to have your children taste international experiences, other cultures, learn other languages, and appreciate what they have and how they live after seeing how difficult it is for some of the other kids their age - these experiences do not have a price tag", says Misty.
In June 2009, Misty sat alone in a hotel room in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She had come to Ethiopia on a missions trip serving orphaned and homeless children. Having gone to Ethiopia with the intention of growing her ministry and her work with orphans, she was given an entirely different door to walk through. She wrote her first book "What ever happened to my prince charming?" over a 48 hour span of solitude. The dream and vision of G4G was born, with her book as the opening salvo in the battle for marriages and women’s healing.
Today her vision includes working with the Grrls 4 God Society to accomplish even bigger dreams:
1. Funding Acacia Village in Ethiopia and using that prototype to expand to other countries throughout the world.
2.Supporting other organizations that help care for orphans and homeless children, as well as teach them about the love of Jesus.
3. Publishing more books addressing needs and struggles women go through
4. Seminars designed to help women understand they are not alone in their trials, link up with mentors, and find healing
5. Working closely with her team and the Grrls 4 God Society - women who have been through tremendous challenges and who have a heart to help others make it through the same - to build “Redemption Ranch” where women and couples can go free of charge for retreats addressing their individual needs.
If you can picture a place where horses run free, blue skies and mountains surrounding beautiful log cabins, a place to come and forget the stresses and difficulties of the daily grind, and feel safe to face the hurts and heal them, that is what Grrls 4 God is going to build.